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Health officials push for vaccinations after measles case confirmed in Alabama

St. Clair County is about 100 miles south of Huntsville, and officials say the child is not old enough to get the measles vaccine.

Posted: May 3, 2019 5:57 PM
Updated: May 3, 2019 7:17 PM

The Alabama Department of Public Health says it's still working to confirm a baby in St. Clair County does have measles, even though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirms it.

St. Clair County is about 100 miles south of Huntsville, and officials say the child is not old enough to get the measles vaccine.

On the doors of the Morgan County Health Department, there are warning signs with the word, "MEASLES," listing the symptoms of the virus and warning people to stay away from anyone if you might be infected.

One woman, Zenovia Stephens, has three sons, and her youngest isn't even a year old.

"It hit close to home with the child being under one....He is 10 months old, so, of course, you are going to connect to that," said Stephens.

The Alabama Department of Public Health say that's the same age as the St. Clair County infant who was just diagnosed with measles.

Stephens says her children are vaccinated, but she sees the posts online from anti-vaccine advocates.

"I have Facebook friends that are against vaccinations...To each his own. I don't knock anyone that doesn't want to vaccinate their child," she said.

This year is expected to be the worst for measles in decades. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the so-called, "anti-vaxxers," are winning the social media war, spreading their message that vaccines cause health problems, including autism, and public health officials need to learn how to fight back.

Judy Smith works at the Morgan County Health Department. She says they have no public push-back campaign against "anti-vaxxers," but she does say the data is not on their side.

"We try very hard to be respectful of people's personal values, value systems, but we will continue to march forward in efforts to see all of our children are protected," said Smith. "We just ask people to do their research, you know, measles vaccines, particularly, have been tested over and over and over again for how safe it is."

The mother of the child diagnosed with measles made a Facebook post pleading people to get vaccinated to keep others safe. Health officials in North Alabama say the same thing, you get vaccinated to protect not just yourself, but everyone else.

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